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According to the Shatapatha Brahmana, the Mlecchas speak the languages of the Asuras of Patala.

  1. The gods then cut her off from the Asuras; and having gained possession of her and enveloped her completely in fire, they offered her up as a holocaust, it being an offering of the gods. And in that they offered her with an anuṣṭubh verse, thereby they made her their own; and the Asuras, being deprived of speech, were undone, crying, 'He ’lavaḥ! he ’lavaḥ!'

  2. Such was the unintelligible speech which they then uttered,--and he (who speaks thus) is a Mleccha (barbarian). Hence let no Brahman speak barbarous language [Mleccha languages], since such is the speech of the Asuras. Thus alone he deprives his spiteful enemies of speech; and whosoever knows this, his enemies, being deprived of speech, are undone.

Which Mleccha civilizations and languages speak the languages of the Asuras? Is it Chinese, Arabic, African, etc?

Does any scripture specify which Mleccha languages are revealed by the Asuras?

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    Kurma Purana somewhere says a Brahmin shouldn't learn Mleccha languages. That is what I know Sep 26, 2019 at 17:52
  • If that is the case, even English in which we are all communicating with, shall be considered as Mleccha. I could not understand why this clamour for mleccha word? Sep 27, 2019 at 1:46
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    @SparkSunshine I remember an instance when Yudhishthira and Vidhur, talked in language of Mleccha. When Pandavas were going to laksha-grah, Vidhur in language of Mleccha alerted Yudhishthira (so that others can't understand), about the danger.
    – V.Aggarwal
    Sep 27, 2019 at 4:09
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    @srimannarayanakv I can make a guess here, As many people believe, that when Indian society was advance and highly developed, other societies outside of Indian subcontinent were quite backward, It might be possible that by that time the eastern culture had not developed a proper language and still communicating like cavemen, and when people from India went their, Sanskrit helped them to develop their own language (Its all only a guess), and maybe the restriction was not to learn the original cavemen language, while when they developed their language, it can be learned.
    – V.Aggarwal
    Sep 27, 2019 at 4:37
  • May be you are partially right. However, as you had stated even Vidura and Yudhisthira were conversant with Mleccha [email protected] Sep 27, 2019 at 4:43

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In Mahabharata both Vidura and Yudhisthira were described to be conversant with the jargon (of the Mlechchhas).

"And after the citizens had ceased following the Pandavas, Vidura, conversant with all the dictates of morality, desirous of awakening the eldest of the Pandavas (to a sense of his dangers), addressed him in these words. The learned Vidura, conversant with the jargon (of the Mlechchhas), addressed the learned Yudhishthira who also was conversant with the same jargon, in the words of the Mlechchha tongue, so as to be unintelligible to all except Yudhishthira. "

So even at the time of Mahabharata era, there were Mlecchas and some people residing in Aryavarta or India at that point of time, knew the language of Mlecchas.

It was not mentioned in Mahabharata as to what the Mleccha language was.

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Mleccha was just a general term at the time for non-Aryan (linguistically). If you didn't speak Sanskrit or any other Indo-Iranian languages, you were a mleccha. This would include the ancient (ca.700bce) Dravidian peoples like the Andhras, Tamils, etc. as well as of course Arabs, Chinese, and Africans, because most of them at that time did not speak Indo-Iranian languages. Since the non-Indo-Iranians that Indo-Iranian-speakers were frequently encountering in the subcontinent were speaking Dravidian or perhaps para-Nihali languages, it it these languages that were probably most heavily historically associated with the label mleccha.

Some scholars think the word mleccha may itself be a loanword into Sanskrit from Tamil or some other Dravidian language. In Tamil we have words like mēla (மேல) "onto", the argument is that in ancient times when the Dravidians were living in Sindh and Balochistan, they called their land as " highland country", or *mēl-akam (மேலகம்), reflected in the Sumerian name for the Indus Valley, "Meluhha", as well as perhaps the self-designation of one or all Dravidian peoples of the area by the time the Aryans had established themselves in South Asia- and they then borrowed the word, mishearing it slightly as mlecchá-, and applying the term to Dravidians but also to anyone who spoke (to their ears) some incomprehensible, non-Indo-Iranian gibberish. Everytime I speak Tamil, Telugu, or Kannada, I am speaking the mleccha tongue.

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  • Could you reference the scholars and and link any other reliable sources that you've usd?
    – CDR
    Jul 21, 2023 at 13:42

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